The good news is that India’s IT industry is booming with no end in sight — since 2007, the number of engineering colleges has more than doubled from 1,511 to 3,345. The bad news is that as a recent graduate in India, you will join 1.5 million other graduates looking to land their first IT jobs.
You’ve studied hard, earned your crucial certifications and are ready to start looking. While certifications are indeed necessary, you will need to do even more to get your foot in the door. The following five job preparation tools are fundamental factors that can increase your likelihood of landing that IT job:
Know the company. Just like studying in school, you need to study the companies to which you are applying. Before you apply, study the organization to make certain it’s a good fit. If you get called for an interview, great. Now you will need to study even more.
Make sure you understand the organization. Research their goals, products, services, and customer base, then prepare a few questions to ask. The company interviewing you will take into consideration how much background knowledge you have about their operations and the industry. You can really impress them by spending time researching their social media presence for information on upcoming products or new customers.
It’s also a good idea to study their competitors. This will help you understand the industry as a whole and the current business environment. This can be quite impressive to the interviewer if you are able to display that you not only have the necessary IT expertise, but also a level of insight about how their business is run, and what goes on with their business rivals.
Additional certifications. Assuming that you have previously selected the appropriate courses and certifications, you may still need to add more. Consider studying for an additional certification as a way to demonstrate your expertise in a specific domain. Picking up this additional certification will increase the likelihood of landing the job.
Having a relevant IT certification does make a difference. For example, those who want to get into the Cisco world should consider earning a CCNA or CCNP as a way to stand apart from other candidates. The same goes with other vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, or IBM. Proper certification, a degree, and experience will definitely help you at least get called in for the interview.
Be professional in your interview. Never shy away from the interviewer’s questions or feel you can’t do the job. The fact that they have you in for an interview is proof that they believe you can. You only get one chance to impress the interviewer, so show what you’ve got.
Present yourself in a professional manner. Interviewers are not only judging your IT skills, they are also observing your body language, personality and attitude. Briefly demonstrate your knowledge and confidently express yourself in a pleasant and forthright manner.
Don’t get ruffled if the interviewer puts you on the spot. This may just be a way of checking how you handle a stressful situation. Be prepared to answers questions about yourself and how you would react in certain situations.
A successful IT professional will be able to explain the different situations and problems they have faced. Prepare yourself for getting questions like, “What will you do if your senior manager is out for lunch and you have to deal with a loss of connection of the company’s VPN network?’’
Remember to show up dressed professionally and on time. If you are uncertain as to the dress code, sit outside the company and observe employees as they come and go. If still unsure, it is always better to be overdressed.
Make certain you have several extra copies of your resume and be prepared to back up the claims on your resume. Never lie about your accomplishments; someone will certainly check on your qualifications, references and any past work experience.
Experience. Nothing beats real-world experience. Candidates with relevant work experience will always have the advantage. If you don’t have relevant experience, get some. Even if it’s a small job, it will one day pay its dividends. Volunteer to help other organizations, join industry associations, or start a blog about the field — anything to gain that valuable experience. Interviewers will ask about your past experiences. It is always good to have something to share.
Be positive and upbeat. Landing your first IT job is similar to landing a job in the marketing department; you have to sell yourself. Let the interviewer see your IT knowledge, your attitude and your desire to succeed. Companies do not want average employees. They want employees with the requisite IT skills who are willing to work and eager to learn. Let them know that your IT skills and work ethic will be a benefit to their company.
One last bit of advice, when starting out you may have to lower your expectations and settle for employment in an unrelated field or at a lower salary. Do not be discouraged. Use this time to improve your skills, and develop industry contacts that can help lead you to the job you want.
Finding that first IT job can be intimidating, especially for new comers. But if you are confident, have a sound knowledge in your field, a positive attitude, and a desire to succeed, nothing will stop you landing your dream job.